A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is an extension of the Bella Sara online virtual world and card collecting franchise, and also emphasizes collecting more than 230 cards within the game. The cards contain uplifting messages, like "Take a chance and follow your heart." Players can exchange duplicate cards with friends using the DS's wireless communications feature. Players are encouraged to take proper care of their horses or they'll get too tired and won't want to go riding.
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What's it about?
Bella Sara is a popular franchise aimed at young girls that lets them acquire and care for hundreds of different virtual horses through trading cards and an online community. The new BELLA SARA video game mirrors the online world in many ways but allows players to do a few extra things as well.
At the Stables you can see the horses you've collected. You can brush them, tap the stones out of their hooves, clean their stalls, and feed them using the DS stylus. You can go riding on different courses, compete in show jumping competitions at the Arena, and check the bulletin board for extra challenges, like seeing how quickly you can groom a horse's coat. Some of these activities earn you money. Finally, you can visit the shop to buy clothes, supplies, and of course more trading cards. There are 232 cards to collect in the game, and some form special sets that will unlock five new horses in the stable. Some cards appear randomly, some are given as rewards, and some can be purchased or traded. Players can also exchange duplicate cards with friends using the DS's wireless communications feature. Each card shows a picture of a different horse along with an uplifting message, like "Take a chance and follow your heart."
Is it any good?
Bella Sara perhaps sticks a little too closely to its virtual world roots instead of offering more "game-like" features such as a story to follow, or more sophisticated challenges. As it stands, although most players will want to keep coming back to collect all the cards, cleaning out horses stalls and riding around the same few courses can get tedious.
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